Arching Back in Bench Press

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by ryder22, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. ryder22

    ryder22 New Member

    When executing the barbell bench press, should you arch your lower back a bit? Keep the legs as near to your body and making sure that your scaps are in a retracted position and chest out as far as possible? does this improve bench press strength by lifting more weight and can build more size to the chest? thanks.. [​IMG]
     
  2. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    <div>
    (ryder22 @ Dec. 22 2008,12:24)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">When executing the barbell bench press, should you arch your lower back a bit? Keep the legs as near to your body and making sure that your scaps are in a retracted position and chest out as far as possible? does this improve bench press strength by lifting more weight and can build more size to the chest? thanks.. [​IMG]</div>
    I would not force your lower back into an arch. However, naturally, you should be able to fit someone's fist under your back.
     
  3. Like colby said, the arching of the lower back is a consequence of raising the lower chest and shouldn't be overdone. Retracting the scaps and supporting on them while doing the big chest position is a good way to push more weight safely and more weight equals more mass.
     
  4. ratty

    ratty New Member

    i agree with colby, because by arching your back you are using other muscles to help lift the weight! although you might be able to lift more weight when you arch your back that weight is not distributed to only the chest!
     
  5. ryder22

    ryder22 New Member

    so what is the ideal position that you use on the bench press that gives you more power guys so that you could move more weight? and another one what grip do you use, lastly do you lower it and touches your chest? [​IMG]
     
  6. ratty

    ratty New Member

    your thinking about it too much in my opinion..grip - whatever is most comfortable for you! you could perhaps play around with how wide your grip is, this will have an impact on how much you can lift, however the closer together your hands are on the bar the focus is placed on your triceps rather than chest.

    concerning lowering the weight, it is best to lower the bar to your chest but in a controlled manner, dont let the bar bounce off your chest! It is important to lower the weight as far as possible because as your muscle stretches during tension, this is what causes mcrotrauma (tiny tears in your muscle) which initiates the growth process
     
  7. Wildman

    Wildman New Member

    Looks like an older post but perhaps the OP is still interested in opinions here. What is your goal for the lift?

    What you are describing is one of the many techniques for increasing ones bench press lift. A power bench press would be much as you have described. The arch in the back has several effects to the lift. The first is to reduce the ROM of the lift. By arching your back you are able to move your chest higher from the bench and thus have a shorter distance to lower the weight to touch. The second effect is that it will align your body in such a way to place more emphasis on the chest and less on the deltoids. The chest is a lot larger muscle and capable of moving more weight than the deltoids. The third would be to allow your lats to be activated more during the low end of the lift. And finally the arch in the back allows for for transfer of leg drive into the lift. At the low end of the lift you would push your heels into the floor which can transfer through the more rigid position of the arched spine.

    As far as hand spacing, that too is yet another technique used to increase ones lift. Typically the wider you go outside of shoulder width, the more you will activate the deltoids and to some degree the pecs. The closer the hands are inside of shoulders width, the less the deltoids and chest are activated and the more the triceps are called into play. I find that I have more power right at shoulders width apart or index finger around the inner knurling ring. The trick is to find the position that best lets you put as much power into the bar from all three if lifting more weight is your goal.

    Now that brings me back to my original question what is your goal for the lift? There is certainly some benefit to be gained by lifting a heavier weight through technique but the benefit will be distributed over a greater number of muscles in the chain. This is a good thing except when your focus for the lift is specific to chest development. If you are also doing plenty of other exercises for deltoid and tricep development then perhaps the barbell bench press is not the best choice. &quot;What the @#$%! is Wildman saying!? Dont bench press?&quot; No, but the power bench press it is not the most productive lift for chest development in my opinion. You would be better served using a slightly wider grip with little arch in your back to place emphasis on the chest than to do the power version. Even a dumbell press or fly is more effective for directly stimulating the chest area specifically.

    This all boils down to your goals for the lift and what kind of program you are on. In a fullbody layout then sure, use the benchpress and even go with the power techniques. You will be performing a minimal number of exercises and the benefits of lifting heavy will be transfered over more body parts with one compound lift. If you are on a volume program with lots of lifts and low frequency, consider using the technique that does not allow for the ancillary muscles to come into play or better yet choose an exercise that more directly targets the muscle that you are trying to develop.
     

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